NO. R-45.  Joint resolution strongly urging that GlaxoSmithKline corporation immediately resume prescription drug deliveries to Canadian‑based mail‑order pharmacies.

(J.R.S.17)

Offered by:  Senator Sears of Bennington County, Senator Ayer of Addison County, Senator Bartlett of Lamoille County, Senator Bloomer of Rutland County, Senator Campbell of Windsor County, Senator Collins of Franklin County, Senator Condos of Chittenden County, Senator Cummings of Washington County, Senator Doyle of Washington County, Senator Dunne of Windsor County, Senator Gander of Windham County, Senator Gossens of Addison County, Senator Greenwood of Essex-Orleans County, Senator Illuzzi of Essex-Orleans County, Senator Leddy of Chittenden County, Senator Lyons of Chittenden County, Senator MacDonald of Orange County, Senator Mazza of Grand Isle County, Senator Miller of Chittenden County, Senator Munt of Chittenden County, Senator Scott of Washington County, Senator Welch of Windsor County and Senator White of Windham County.

Whereas, Americans are forced to pay prescription drug prices which far exceed those in any other nation, and

     Whereas, these extraordinarily high prices have a severe economic impact on all Vermonters, and especially our senior citizens, who are least able to afford the costs of essential medications, and

Whereas, Canadian pharmacies are a critical resource for Vermonters to purchase prescription drugs at up to 80 percent less than the United States, and

     Whereas, one of the major suppliers to Canadian‑based mail-order pharmacies is the British GlaxoSmithKline corporation, the world’s second largest drug manufacturer, whose total annual sales for the most recently measured 12‑month period were $29.5 billion, and

     Whereas, on January 21, 2003, GlaxoSmithKline suspended all shipments of prescription drugs to these Canadian pharmacies, including popular medications such as the antidepressant Paxil and the allergy drug Flonase, and

     Whereas, this suspension will severely affect the medical needs of many  Vermonters, and

     Whereas, GlaxoSmithKline is also the manufacturer of many popular nonprescription consumer products, including Tums antacid, Contac cold medicine, Sominex sleep aid, Citrucel fiber supplement, and Aquafresh toothpaste, and

     Whereas, in retaliation against the corporation’s suspension of prescription deliveries to Canadian pharmacies, many senior citizen organizations are participating in the “Tums Down” boycott of GlaxoSmithKline’s products, and

     Whereas, GlaxoSmithKline claims the drug supply stoppage was instigated to protect American consumers against unsafe or counterfeit medications, which certainly would not include brand‑name drugs packaged and identified as GlaxoSmithKline products, and

     Whereas, the assertion of GlaxoSmithKline officials that Americans may be violating United States drug laws must be balanced against repeated assurances from U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials that individuals importing prescription drugs from Canada, for exclusively personal use, have no need to fear that the federal government will interfere in their Canadian drug purchases, and

     Whereas, it is apparent that the company’s motivation is premised on the loss of profits it has experienced from the shift of purchases from U.S. to Canadian pharmacies, and

     Whereas, if other major drug manufacturers perceive GlaxoSmithKline’s actions as successful, they may quickly follow suit, and

     Whereas, GlaxoSmithKline’s unabashed fidelity to financial gain at the expense of some of Vermont’s most vulnerable populations directly contravenes the company’s stated mission of improving the quality of human life and safeguarding public health, and

Whereas, it may be within the power of the General Assembly to subject all prescription drugs manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline to Vermont’s prior authorization process, and

     Whereas, it is imperative that GlaxoSmithKline resume its shipments of prescription drugs to Canadian pharmacies, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

     That the General Assembly stands committed to doing whatever is within its power to send an unmistakable message to the GlaxoSmithKline corporation that its actions are disturbing in the utmost, and the corporation should resume at once all the prescription drug deliveries to Canadian pharmacies suspended on January 21, and be it further

     Resolved:  That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to the U.S. headquarters of GlaxoSmithKline in Philadelphia, to the members of the Vermont Congressional Delegation, and to the National Legislative Association on Prescription Drug Prices.